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Get more out of your play with Play Smart

January 13, 2020 Posted by NC Lottery at 1:40 PM

You’ve checked your playbook, crafted a winning game plan and are officially game ready.

So, what’s next? It’s time to get in the game and have some fun. That’s what Play Smart is all about.

What is Play Smart, you ask?

I’m the lottery coach who always has your back. I’m here to help you make informed decisions when you play the lottery. Check out my acting debut below.

You might see me on TV, hear my message on the radio, or see some tips on social media. If you can’t wait to learn more about this winning game plan, I’m here to tell ya that you don’t have to wait.

Head on over to There are quite a few good tips and tricks to help you play smarter, know the game and bust the myths — all the things that make playing the lottery a lot more fun. Believe me, I know. I’m the coach!

Now, most of you who have been with us for a while already know all about playing smart. Since we’re in the team spirit, we’re counting on you to read up and help us share these tips with the other lottery players in your life.

When you play the lottery, Play Smart. Now, get in there and have some fun!

-        Coach


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2/19/2020 08:50 - Janet O.

Why can't the prize be bigger if you get 4 out of 5 numbers in the cash 5. It doesn't doesn't seem fair. For example the cash 5 is 500 thousand and you hit 4 out of 5 and only get 250.00 .NC Lottery
Hi Janet, Thanks for asking. The prize for matching a certain amount of numbers is based on the odds that a player would be able to match those numbers combined with the rest of the prize structure for the game.

2/17/2020 11:56 - Lisa P.

Please make it so people can play and know for certain before they loose prizes that it can be easier for total home bound such as myself to make purchases online and understand if I win tyNC Lottery
Hey Lisa, We hear you! We hate it when prizes go unclaimed, so we make every effort to notify winners when they win. We attempt to contact winners via phone, email and even snail mail. So it's important for everyone to keep their contact info up to date so that we are able to get in contact should they win a prize.

1/28/2020 06:16 - Isalene J.

I don`t use bill money to play I just use alot to play .Someday the dream will kick in ..I just like playing .And hope to win big one day for my sister . But if it`s ment to be it will happen if not my loss your gain .But just like everyone else we play to win .Thats what dreams is made of right. Have a very nice day and keep up the great work. And best of luck to everyone that plays

1/27/2020 10:32 - Isalene J.

Dam just give me # to draw for wed power ball .I need this bad for my sister. She is having a very hard time after her husband pass away 11/12/1920 I am spending to much money trying to do the sister thing. NC Lottery
We're so sorry for your loss, Isalene. Please remember that playing the lottery is meant to be for fun, not as a means of solving financial problems. We would never want you to spend money that is meant for bills or other essentials on our games. We wish you and your sister all the best.

1/22/2020 06:10 - JIM B.

@Tim M-I would say he is a pretty smart fellow.

1/21/2020 06:33 - Tim M.

What do you say about a winner who won the Pick 4 multiple times but had his wife claim the winnings because he's a convicted felon and he owed the State money? Hypothetically speaking, of course. Oh, definitely NOT me.

1/21/2020 03:41 - kim t.

I play Pick 4 daily. When I look at the winners related to that game, I see someone's name from Tarboro listed 11 times winning $5000. Is this a typo or did this individual pony up $11.00 and play the "exact" on this particular day? Actually I have seen multiple occasions where someone wins $5000 multiple times on the same draw. I have all I can do to play my $1 a day. Go figure.NC Lottery
Hi Kim, No typos here! Everyone chooses to play the lottery in a different way. Some folks like to get just one ticket, while others like to get several -- sometimes with all different numbers and sometimes with all of the same numbers. In this case, the player that you mentioned did in fact get very lucky when he got several of the same numbers and then those numbers were drawn.

1/17/2020 01:04 - Tim M.

Hmmm. I do actually buy some of my tickets, mostly draw games. On scratchers I have better luck with 'Plan B' than I do 'Plan A'. And I 'play smart' with 'house money' a lot. Imagine that! WOW!

1/16/2020 05:27 - Denver G.

LZ thank you so much for keeping us informed and to help us play smarter.....

1/16/2020 03:29 - Tim M.

OK, for those who doubt what I've said about patterns, mirroring, gimmicks, etc., check this out. Saturday was January 11, i.e., 1/11=111. Saturday after I didn't play. Obviously, I thought if 111. Didn't take it seriously because it was TOO obvious and besides, it was probably locked out anyway. So, what did they draw that afternoon? 121! Can you imagine all the ticked off people who actually had 111? To add insult to injury, the next day they drew 711. My stars!. And if you don't believe me, they drew my birthday just days before it in the Pick 4. Unfortunately, I decided against playing it that day! AARRGGHH!

1/15/2020 12:24 - Denver G.

LZ, thx 4 that wee bit of info. Points are very hard to come by for most of us. Y'all can just ponder on that. An informed player is a smart player. If you don't mind, could you tell us, what are next months Lucky Rewards drawings?NC Lottery
We're still finalizing a few of the details for next month's drawings, so check back closer to the end of the month and we'll be happy to give you the inside scoop!

1/14/2020 03:54 - nc s.

Doing exactly 3 predraws everyday to make sure a machine is functioning doesn't seem logical. Does the dealer in black jack deal out 3 dummy hands to make sure the cards are legit before the actual deal or does a craps dealer throw the dice 3 times before the real toss to make sure the dice are functioning properly? You can't say it's to spot irregularities because that would prove it's not random but you're essentially trying to prevent people from reading patterns because it is computer controlled-rigged. The lottery says it's random but the process NC Lottery uses before drawings and the definition of random are complete oppositesNC Lottery
The machines we use for our live drawings are not connected to any computers, so there is no way to control which numbers are drawn. We've invited you to observe our drawings in the past, as they are open to anyone who wants to attend. If you're interested in attending, just give our security team a call at 1-888-732-6235.

1/14/2020 01:24 - Denver G.

Hey LZ. I am trying to decide whether or not to enter a few X the cash tickets I have b4 the end of the month or hold on to them for the next round of 2nd chance drawings associated with said tickets. Give us a little 411 so we can make an informed decision. NC Lottery
We're happy to help! We've got some insider info on next month's Multiply the Cash second-chance drawings: the top prize will be doubled to $100,000 and any "multiplier" tickets entered into Lucke-Rewards during the month of February will receive multiplied Lucke-Rewards points in addition to the regular second-chance entries. As of today, the current Multiply the Cash second-chance drawing has 13,835,725 entries. There's no telling how many entries the next series of drawings will have. Is there any other info can we provide to help you make your decision?

1/14/2020 08:58 - Cynthia B.

one thing that I have seen is that the speed of the lottery balls have chance

1/14/2020 06:46 - danny w.

Why want it let me enter my tickets on the second chance drawing it's saying (Permission required do not have permission to view this contents. Trying to log-in tickets.NC Lottery
Hi Danny, Sorry for hear you're having trouble entering tickets. Our support team is here to help! Please reach out to them at and someone should be able to look into what's causing that to happen.

1/13/2020 04:29 - Dorothy M.

I'm gonna start a page to advise all north carolina small cities to not to contribute to the cash 5 until it's fairly distributed among all counties. Especially when it get of size. Raleigh, Greensboro, or Charlotte may not be name as the winner, but it's also the cities that are part of the bigger cities, like morrisville, hillsborough, etc..NC Lottery
Every lottery ticket has an equal chance at winning, regardless of where it was purchased. If you were to move to Raleigh, you'd have more neighbors; if you moved to a tiny town, you'd have less. Anywhere folks are taking more chances to win, the odds will play out there more often over time. But what everyone would have in common in all those places is that each individual would have the exact same chance of winning a lottery prize!

1/13/2020 04:27 - Denver G.

Put me in coach. Show me the moneymNC Lottery
Go get 'em, Denver!

1/13/2020 04:20 - Angela A.

OK, NCEL this is a joke. You do not care about the people spending all their bill money trying to chase a dream. Because, you always say it is a game of chance and luck so what tips would you provide that would increase your so called odds. NONE. I see people buying whole rolls of tickets 300,600, and 900 dollars a pop and not even getting half the money back. If you all would just put some winning tickets out then problem solved. Because if the average person who should not be playing quit the lottery would go under. NC Lottery
Our hope is that by providing the tools players need to be informed on how our games and odds work, they will make better decisions and have more fun playing our games. We don't recommend playing the lottery by purchasing rolls of tickets because odds of 1 in 4 don't mean every fourth ticket is a winner. It takes a lot of luck to win a prize of any size. We encourage you to watch the video above to learn more about how odds work in our games.

1/13/2020 04:12 - nc s.

I thought the lottery did 3 to 4 predraws before any drawing to spot irregularities, but it seems like with all the recent Pick 4 drawings your getting a lot of repetitive numbers back to back? What's the true reason behind drawing 4 times before you actually pick the winning numbers?NC Lottery
Hi NC, Pre-draws are standard in the lottery industry and are done prior to live drawings to ensure that the machines are functioning properly. Lottery drawings are completely random events and previous results have no bearing on future drawing outcomes. 2-2-2-2 has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being drawn today and it will have a 1 in 10,000 chance of being drawn tomorrow, regardless of if it was drawn yesterday or three years ago.

1/13/2020 03:49 - Sheila I.

I will never buy any online lottery tickets again. I won a lousy $1 on cash 5 and inorder got me to have an EFT to my account, I was literally asked to submit legal documents because the information I gave isn't enough... really ????? Are you kidding me. This online stuff is a joke. Keep the darn $1NC Lottery
We hear that you're frustrated, Sheila. Here at the lottery, we want to do everything we can to protect the sensitive information of our players. A part of that has to do with ensuring that the winnings are going to the right person when they are withdrawn. That means that the first time you try to withdraw funds from your Online Play account, you'll be asked to provide additional documentation. This should only happen once and won't be needed for future withdraws. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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